On waking up to the news of Dana Seetahal’s assassination on the streets of Woodbrook, I thought, in fear and disbelief, “So this is where we have reached.” The impact hit like a two-tonne truck, even after the constant countdown of bodies on the news — usually the bodies of young black men.
The list of killings is so unrelenting that those of us still left have learned to flip past the pages filled with bodies, killed we are so often told, “in gang-related incidents” as if that answers something. “Gang-related”, “drug-related” — words that keep in place the veil of silence that somehow tries to separate the “law-abiding citizens” from the death and chaos taking over the country. It’s “gang-related” — so what does that have to do with me anyway?
Even after all this, Dana Seetahal’s death came as a shock. It felt like a turning point. A clear and brazen statement made by persons unknown, but one suspects, with sufficient clout in financial, political, and/or security circles, to think that they will go untouched. A well-coordinated, costly and professionally executed hit — an announcement made in blood to her colleagues in the legal and media fraternities, and to us, the public. Yes, be afraid. Don’t talk too loud. Don’t question too much. We run this town.
Who are these people — whispered about but never openly named or brought to justice? Who are the people and organisations bringing the drugs and guns into this country en masse? Getting them past OPVs and past Customs in containers marked for import and export?
Who hides behind the veil of our silence and our willingness to not know — while those of us left behind accumulate what we can and try to “eat ah food” and live our lives? Who took Dana Seetahal’s life? Will the veil of silence remain in place even as our politicians talk and talk and talk? Will Dana Seetahal’s death be in vain?